Friday, December 10, 2010

First Tablet UI And Work Flow Nearly Finished

This week went quickly, along with my various projects I have been improving my python skills so that the language wasn't a hindrance to creating the ideas that were in my head.

When logged into the new GNOME desktop, the MIME bars were updated to offer another selection to Save 'To MobileDocuments'. While this is a simple concept to computer people, moving files around the network is very difficult to regular users. With a single click, the document that is being displayed will now appear on the iPad/Tablet device.

The first iteration of the user interface that displays when you log into the network in portrait mode from an iPad is finished (below). All of the documents in your MobileDocuments folder display on the lower panel as thumbnails. When you click on them once, the drop shadow changes color and the status line displays information about the file. Touching the thumbnail button again or hitting the [ Open ] button opens the document in the appropriate software application. I'm designing with the consideration that users will be holding a stylus pen. I'm not sure how easy a right mouse click will be with a pen, so I'm coding with this limitation in mind. The UI supported PDFs and OpenOffice documents, and I just added photos. There might be circumstances where employees need to take photos with them into the field, and it only took a few minutes to add this feature. Being that everything is running on the server, if the iPad is lost, stolen or fails, no City documents are ever lost.

When I am sure that we are feature complete for the first release, I'll spend some time on the UI. Focus was on work flow, eye candy can come later. Here is a shot of a 768x1024 window, displaying documents and pictures and then opening a photo with eog.

With the coding nearly complete, I'll be at a stand-still now until NX 4 is released. Right now it's impossible to log in from the iPad. With this sub-project nearly finished, I'll focus on delivering the rest of the software packages on the new GNOME desktop and await patches to fix the last of our show stoppers.

Up next: Expanding use on the new desktop/GNOME server, putting the new Firefox server live, testing the new thin client changes and creating a large NFS drive for our documents. December is looking to be very busy.

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